Document 1793

Scots Tung Wittins 142

Author(s): Robert Fairnie

Copyright holder(s): Name withheld


Nummer 142
Sept 2005

A guid Scots Tung in yer heid's nae guid if yer mooth's ower blate tae yaise it!

Scots Tung WITTINs

Eydently Campaignin for the Scots Leid
Ph. [CENSORED: phonenumber] Scots Tung Wabsite: Stravaiger Ph. [CENSORED: phonenumber]

Sic a Parcel o Rogues!
"Devolution haes gien thaim custody o yin o the best literary an linguistic jewels in Europe an aw they can dae is sneer at it"
OWER the page, oor Stravaigin Reporter, Irene Broon, haes sent in a braw wee report aboot the suddron French ceity o Nice. It's aye a guid thing tae hae some reports in Scots that's no aboot the Scots language in particlar. This helps tae normalise the language an demonstrate tae some fowk that it can hae a life ootside the kailyaird, pub an fitba terraces aw thegither.

It's nae surprise tho that, bein a Scots language upsteerer, her ee shuid catch sicht o the twa-leidit street signs in Nice's auld toun; signs that haes the street names written in baith French an Nissart, a local bye-leid o that airt.

There wis a time when aw the eximperial pouers o Europe wis paranoid anent the divine richts o aw thair ain imperial languages tae reign supreme ower aw the ither regional an minority languages athin thair ain mairches an seen the destruction o thae minority leids as necessar for thair ain survival.Howanever, in the coorse o time, the auld heids o the EU in thair wisdom taen up wi the conceps o subsidiarity tae stert wi an then wi the notion o cultural diversity includin the diversity o language. Efter a while maist o thae eximperial states fell in wi the concep an aw an taen positive meisures tae uphaud an forder thair ain regional or minority languages. E'en the michty eximperial Spain gied devolution tae some o its regions an recognition tae thair languages. In the hinneren juist twa countries oot o the hail o Europe stelt thirsels agin this muckle tsunami o wisdom an vision, France an the UK. The dour thrawn French an the sleekit British. But juist as the constant dreep dreep dreep o water weirs awa the hardest stane, thae twa anachronisms gied wey an jyned the lave o Europe.

Mind, they've a lang gate tae traivel afore they can meisure up tae whit's happened in ither countries the likes o Spain but it's richt guid an hertenin tae see in the French ceity o Nice, the Nissart byeleid enjoyin parity wi the auld imperial French language on the street signs.

When the UK gied devolution tae Scotland, owerance for Scotland's vernacular languages cam wi it. Insteid o Scots an Gaelic bein looked efter bi the sleekit pseudo Scots in London, it wis left tae the creenge ridden Scots in Edinburgh tae rise tae the occasion an dae for Scots an Gaelic whit Spain haed duin for Catalan an Galician or at the very least, whit the UK government haed duin for Irish an Ulster Scots. Did somebody say rise? Ay. Like a leid balloon.

Whaur Gaelic wis concerned, the pace haed mair or less been set bi the twa previous Scottish Office administrations sae they juist gaed throu thae motions that they haed tae, leavin Gaelic whaur it is the day, a sicht better aff nor it wis but still wantin thon final hyste up that ony honest administration wad gie athoot question.

Scots on the ither haund got nae want o verbal abuse frae individuals baith in an oot o government. It wis daured frae signs athin the new pairlament biggin at Holyrood. It wis daured a richtfu place athin the Census o 2001 an, tho the UK Government haed signed an ratified the ECRML for Scots athin Pairt II o the Chairter, the Scottish Executive an its mandarins is aye still blithe tae act the daft laddie an dae naethin tae cairry oot ony o its obligations tae thon Chairter whaur Scots is concairned.

It shairly maun tak a richt thrawn kinna paranoia tae see bi-lingualism as sic a nationalist threat tae the Union, but nae maitter whit thair mooths says, thon's juist whit the three unionist pairties is sayin in deeds. The scunnersome truith we aw hae tae get oor heids roond is no that the biggest danger tae the Scots language comes frae the media or frae the USA or frae Europe or frae the UK Government in London. The biggest danger tae the Scots language comes frae Scots fowk, a certain cleek o thaim. It comes frae the MSPs o the three unionist pairties in the Scots pairlament, representin maistly Scots speakin constituents an sleekitly gaun oot thair wey tae mak oor Scots Pairlament a Scots language free zone.

Devolution haes gien thaim custody o yin o the best literary an linguistic jewels in Europe an aw they can dae is sneer at it. O whit a parcel o rogues we hiv in oor pairlament!

[NOTE: image here of poster advertising Sangschaw in original]
YE'VE heard o the Mod an the Eisteddfod. The Mod bein a competitive celebration o Gaelic language, music an culture an the Eisteddfod daein juist aboot the same for the Welsh language, music an culture. Weel, this year, the Scots Leid Associe is upbiggin its annual Scots writin competition an mellin it intae the Sangschaw, a competitive celebration o the Scots language, its music an its culture tae be hauden in the Corn Exchynge, Melrose on Sunday 30th October frae 10.30am. The competition feinishes wi the follaein Scots Festival Nicht.

Literary Director - J. Derrick McClure
Musical Director - Ronald Stevenson
For mair particlars aboot the competitions see:- http:\\ or e-mail tae:- [CENSORED: emailaddress] or write tae:-
E. Morton, [CENSORED: postaladdress] or see the Keekin Gless in the Scots Tung wabsite ablow.

Scots Tung WITTINS
On the wab.
Mair raicent copies o the Scots Tung Wittins can be gotten in pdf format frae Scots Tung's wabsite at:-
A hard copy o STW is sent free o chairge tae aw maimbers o Scots Tung ilka month.
Maimbership subscreivins is £5 (Scotland/UK)
Peyed ilka September.
£6 (Ireland/EU) $14 (Americae)

© Copyricht for awthin written in this wittins blat bides wi R. Fairnie. The Scots Tung Wittins can be fotie-copied in hail or in pairt athoot limit o nummers an this hauds guid an aw for ony pairt o the wittins blat that's furthset in ony ither publication.

The Stravaigin Reporter in Nice
bi Irene Broon (Owerset intae Scots bi the Editor)
A raicently swapped ma stravaigin o the streets o Edinburgh for stravaigin the streets o Nice. Tho the temperature an sichts there wis gey different frae thaim o the Capital, there wis a guid puckle similarities an aw. Nice, that only juist becam officially French in 1860, is noo France's fift biggest ceity an is weel kent for its braid soopin Promenade des Anglais an its cleeks wi the penters, Henri Matisse an Marc Chagall. Baith ceities haes a lang history an ilka yin haes an auld toun an a new toun. Thankfu-like, Edinburgh's castle is still aye in guid fettle - Nice haes a Colline du Chateau, but nae chateau!

The new toun haes braw boulevards wi raws o trees rinnin doon ilka side alang wi fantoosh hotels an palaces in the art deco sough an it haes nae want o designer shops forbye. Howanever, it wis Vieux Nice that catched ma ee wi its wyndin streets, enless restaurants, sma galleries, sindry mercats an shops aw sellin the local graith an gear. Juist whan ye thocht ye kent yer wey aboot, ye'd turn roond a corner tae find anither new quartier athin the auld toun.

But the thing that grippit me maist wis that aw the street signs in Vieux Nice wis twa-leidit. A recognised the French nae bother, but the ither language wis un-bekent tae me. It turnt oot tae be Nissart, the distinctive local bye-leid that, accordin tae the guide-buik, is kennin the guid o a revival. There a bi-monthly magazine in the leid an aw, cried Lou Sourgentine that's been rinnin syne 1984.

It cam tae me that it widnae be a bad thing if Edinburgh wis tae tak a leave oot o Nice's buik an pit up twa-leidit street signs in oor Auld Toun an aw. Tourists wad love it. Imagine signs wi the likes o Coogate, Fleshmercat Close, Landmercat, Gressmercat, White Cuddy Close etc. A doot a wee letter tae the Cooncil widnae gaun amiss!
© Irene Broon

Johnnie Jouk the Gibbet
A review bi Irene Broon (Owerset intae Scots bi the Editor)
[NOTE: image here of a poster advertising Johnnie Jouk the Gibbet in original]
THE scene is the kitchen o the seeventeent century Glesca provost Sir George Elphinstone, whaur Baillie Angus Cameron haes turnt up ae September eenin cled juist in his serk. It's nae surprise that a body o his staundin shuid be sae dumfoonert at sic a want o dignity. This wis makit aw the waur when the thief that robbed him o his gear, then haunds it in tae the maid, stealin twa three kisses as he daes, sayin the Baillie shuid chynge his tailor as he, the thief, is yaised tae better gear nor that. This gallus gester incenses intae aw thaim praisent that the local keelie Johnnie McClelland is back frae the wars an is makin his hame toun feel the wecht o his presence.

In thae days the price o theivin wis a guid hingin but Glesca wis in sair want o a hangman, sae Johnnie leuks like he's aboot tae "jouk the gibbet" yet agane. The play taks the form o a Scottish farce whaur the men in the form o the Provost, Baillie an Toun Clerk tries tae find a new toun hangman, while the weemin in the form o the Provost's wife, Lady Mirren, his sister Bell an the maids aw complouter tae save Johnnie cause they're aw a wee bit saft on him. Aw thair best laid plans ends up wi proponin that Johnnie hissel shuid be the hangman as lang's he mairries yin o the Provost's maids, that haed been giein him some grief. The ultimatum "hing or be hingit" warks an the Provost mairries the pair on the spot an the Toun Clerk threaps the pawkie consait that the state o bein mairriet is "as sudden as daith itsel".

Johnnie noo haes a job, a wife an a hoose an the Provost haes saved his embarrassment at the want o a hangman afore his rival Edinburgh sae aw the loose ends is aw tied up.

The play wis written aw in Scots bi T.M. Watson. Tho Sir George Elphinstone did exist an serred as an MP in 1583 an haed twa tairms as Provost in 1600 - 01 an 1604 - 05, the story is pure fiction. The audience haed nae bother follaein the dialogue that wis delivert weel bi maist o the cast. There wis plenty o comic moments, particlar in Iain Fraser's music ha wey o playin the Provost an Gordon Briadwood's, greetin faced self peity as the shawled an chitterin Baillie. But it wis Ronnie Miller that wis maist convincin as the warld weary, chancin, bevvyin Toun Clerk wi lines the likes o "breckin the law an shooglin the facts are no the same thing."

He wis the only cast maimber an aw wi onythin resemblin a richt Glesca accent. tho aiblins thon hidnae been inventit in the seeventeent century. But the strangest performance cam frae Mandy Black that played Lady Mirren. Her rendition o a strang, fearless, clever wumman livin in pre-enlightened an pre-liberated times wis refreshin an convincin.

Edinburgh People's Theatre wis estaiblisht in 1943 an haes been delichtin audiences e'er syne wi a braid chyce o plays, some o thaim written an performed in Scots.
The shaw ran frae the 9 - 27 August at St Peter's Kirk Ha, Lutton place. The rinnin time wis 2 hrs an 15 mins sae wi tickets gaun for £7 (£6 conc.) it wis guid valyae for the siller. Onybody interestit in takin pairt in future productions shuid contack Nick Cheales on [CENSORED: phonenumber] or visit © Irene Broon

Scotland on Sunday
[NOTE: image here of the dictionary cover in original]
ON Sunday 14th August the Scotland on Sunday gied oot free copies o the abuin Collins Gem, Scots Dictionary wi ilka news-paper that it selt. A braw wicelike thing tae dae if it wis ettlin tae gie its readers an inlat intae some Scots (language) journalism. Noo that its readers is aw prepared, when is the SoS gaunnae gie thaim somethin tae yaise thair dictionaries on?

Makar's Neuk
Fareweel to aw our Scottish fame,
Fareweel our ancient glory,
Fareweel even to the Scottish name
Sae famed in martial story.
Now Sark rins o'er the Solway sands
And Tweed rins to the ocean,
To mark where England's province stands
Such a parcel of rogues in a nation!

What force or guile could not subdue
Through many warlike ages
Is wrought now by a coward few
For hireling traitors' wages.
The English steel we could disdain,
Secure in valour's station;
But English gold has been our bane -
Such a parcel of rogues in a nation!

O would, ere I had seen the day
That treason thus could fell us,
My auld gray head had lien in clay
Wi Bruce and loyal Wallace!
But pith and power, till my last hour,
I'll mak this declaration:
We're bought and sold for English gold -
Such a parcel of rogues in a nation!

Robert Burns (1759 - 96)

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Cite this Document

APA Style:

Scots Tung Wittins 142. 2024. In The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow. Retrieved 21 May 2024, from

MLA Style:

"Scots Tung Wittins 142." The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow, 2024. Web. 21 May 2024.

Chicago Style

The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech, s.v., "Scots Tung Wittins 142," accessed 21 May 2024,

If your style guide prefers a single bibliography entry for this resource, we recommend:

The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. 2024. Glasgow: University of Glasgow.


Information about Document 1793

Scots Tung Wittins 142


Text audience

Audience size N/A

Text details

Method of composition N/A
Word count 2298
General description monthly newsletter

Text medium

Leaflet/brochure (prospectus)

Text publication details

Publisher Scots Tung
Publication year 2005
Part of a longer series of texts
Name of series Scots Tung Wittins

Text type

Prose: nonfiction
Other mixed text type


Author details

Author id 95
Forenames Robert
Surname Fairnie
Gender Male
Decade of birth 1930
Educational attainment College
Age left school 16
Upbringing/religious beliefs Protestantism
Occupation Consultant Marine Structural Engineer (Retired)
Place of birth Musselburgh
Region of birth Midlothian
Birthplace CSD dialect area midLoth
Country of birth Scotland
Place of residence Musselburgh
Region of residence Midlothian
Residence CSD dialect area midLoth
Country of residence Scotland
Father's occupation Fisherman
Father's place of birth Musselburgh
Father's region of birth Midlothian
Father's birthplace CSD dialect area midLoth
Father's country of birth Scotland
Mother's occupation Fishwife
Mother's place of birth Musselburgh
Mother's region of birth Midlothian
Mother's birthplace CSD dialect area midLoth
Mother's country of birth Scotland


Language Speak Read Write Understand Circumstances
English Yes Yes Yes Yes At work
German Yes Yes Yes Yes In Germany to communicate with two grandsons
Scots Yes Yes Yes Yes Wherever Scots is understood